Jeffery Farnol
Appreciation Society

Dustjacket Summaries

BELTANE, THE SMITH, A. L. Burt Company, Boston, 1915, Second American Edition

A novel more crowded with beauty and incident than this new romance of love and adventure would be difficult to find. Young Beltane, growing up in the care of Ambrose the Hermit, knows naught of men and women and teeming cities, but one day a mysterious stranger appears, presenting Beltane with a sword and giving him daily lesson in sword play and horsemanship. Lady Helen of Mortain, as she rides thorough the greenwood, meets Beltane and here is the first love scene - indeed the love interest is one of the strongest notes in this remarkable novel.

The story moves with a tremendous sweep from one adventure to another and is by far the author's greatest achievement.

BLACK BARTLEMY'S TREASURE, Little Brown and Company, Boston, 1944, American reprint.

Mr. Farnol brings back the pirate days of the Spanish Main in this stirring book and not since "The Broad Highway" and "The Amateur Gentleman" has he created such a company of picturesque characters. It is a full-blooded, wholesome novel that captivates the reader.

Martine Conisby, Lord Wendover, embittered by his five years of slavery on the Spanish galleon Esmeralda, escapes during a sea fight to an English ship and makes his way back to England, determined to avenge himself on Richard Brandon, who was the cause of his father's death and his own ill-treatment. Broken in body and spirit, he arrives home one night disguised as a tramp, just in time to save from the hands of robbers a beautiful girl, Lady Jane Brandon, the daughter of the man whom he has sworn to punish. In a tavern he meets a pal, Adam Penfeather, who unfolds to him the story of Black Bartlemy, an infamous pirate, and his treasure buried on an island-- treasure of fabuous value that has been the dream and hope of roving adventurers along the Spanish Main for many years.

The engrossed reader will eagerly follow the adventures of the treasure seekers who set sail on the good ship Faithful Friend and the unique experiences of Martin and the fair Lady Jane - whose family the hero hated - as they found themselves alone on the island which contained the buried treasure. He will encounter some rogues as bloodthirsty as any pirates who ever sailed the Seven Seas, and discover love episodes that stir the emotions. Mr. Farnol has never made a wider appeal than in this, his first sea story.

PEREGRINE'S PROGRESS, Little Brown and Company, Boston, 1922, First American Edition

Peregrine Vereker, in the eyes of his aunt Julia, who brought him up to the mature age of nineteen, was a polished young gentleman, an incipient artist and poet. In the opinion of his two uncles he was an ignorant mollycoddle, a ladylike nincompoop, unacquainted with manliness. Stung by their scorn, Peregrine "ran away" as many a lad before and since, to learn the world and prove his worth, and ran the gamut of happiness and misery, of fear and courage, of loneliness and love before he matched up to the requirements of his two uncles.

In this novel Mr. Farnol has returned to the period of his first love, the early nineteenth century, and Peregrine, in his "progress," meets with much the same gentry as peopled the England of "The Broad Highway." Indeed, several characters of that delightful romance have an active hand in Peregrine's education, particularly the Tinker, that master of wholesome philosophy. No present-day writer knows better than Mr. Farnol how to depict the lure of the outdoors, the charm of the English country and the
life of this particular period.

Another dashing tale, full of action, crowded with tense moments, with gypsies, rogues, men of fashion, lovely ladies and ladies not so lovely, the life of the country, the life of fashion; all combined in this new creation of Mr. Farnol's brilliant and teeming imagination, which is worthy to take its stand in the company of this author's previous work.

GUYFFORD OF WEARE, Little, Brown and Company, Boston,

In the darkness Sir Richard Guyfford, aware that some one is breaking into his house, stands rigid and alert. A leap, a faint cry followed by a fall, and light of a candle reveals his victim -- Lady Helen D'Arcy, reigning beauty and toast. She had come to steal a letter written to Sir Richard by a guiless and silly friend who repented of her folly. Taunting him for being the villain and reprobate that gossip asserted, Lady Helen leaves -- with the letter in her possession.

The Beginning of this delightful and typically Farnolesque novel of England in the early seventeen hundreds is but a taste of what is to follow. There is Cousin Julian, who more than deserves Richard's reputation, a group of shady gentlemen in Julian's power, an Irish duchess with a French name, and many another, equally picturesque.

Needless to say, the story is a network of intrigue and misunderstandings, all of which are handled with Mr. Farnol's extraordinarily skilful touch and with a literary charm reminiscent of his many successes.

Another Gyfford Plot Summary

ANOTHER DAY, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1929, First American Edition

This narrative really opens with the song of a lark caroling joyously in the sunny air high over the Sussex Downs, whereon lay young Keith Dallas Chisholm flat on his back, a dusty, travel-worn figure, gazing up at the soaring bird with wistful, haggard eyes. Sitting up wearily at last, he glanced down at the crumpled letter in his fingers, a large sheet of thick notepaper bearing neither date nor address, but these words in bold, hasty scrawl:

"There are sins I can forgive and have forgiven you, but murder is not one of them. Your allowance shall be paid as usual so long as you keep clear of the States and forget you were ever the son of Wilbur I. Chisholm."

Keith Dallas Chisholm, Mr. Farnol's young American hero, believing, with his millionaire father, that he is guilty of killing the man he hated, has fled from New York to England where he encounters a very small but friendly damsel, Patience. Keith meets and befriends the little girl's big sister, Josepha, but he is torn between a desire not to lose sight of his Goddess and the guilty thought that there is blood on his hand so that he can have no place in the life of so lovely and innocent a girl.

Written in a more modern setting than is his custom, Mr. Farnol's new novel contains all the elements of love, adventure and characterization that made the author of "The Broad Highway" famous.

(John) Jeffery Farnol was born in 1878, in Birmingham, England. He was still very young when the family moved outside the shadows of the smoking chimneys of that great industrial centre to Lee, in Kent, the garden county of England. Attempts were made to fit him for a "practical" career - at a forge in a Birmingham foundry, and in his father's business - but owing to his natural bent for storytelling and writing they proved abortive.

He was barely twenty-one when he married an American girl, Miss Blanche Hawley, daughter of a New York artist, and they set forth for New York immediately. There Farnol worked as a scene painter in the old Astor Theatre, meanwhile selling stories and sketches. His success did not square with his expectations, especially when, upon completing "The Broad Highway," he found no ready market for a novel so different from the vogue. To crown all, an actor-friend who promised to show the manuscript to friends with Little, Brown & Company, Boston, as a last chance, completely forgot to do
so, after playing in Boston for months. Farnol was minded to burn the unlucky script, but his wife sent it to England. Soon after, they returned there, just as the novel was accepted by an English firm of publishers - who later sold the American rights to Little, Brown & Company! Its subsequent spectacular success made literary history, and the novel was the precursor of many other widely read romances.

A JADE OF DESTINY, Little, Brown and Company, 1931, First American Edition

Jeffery Farnol has of recent years ranged far from the Kent and Sussex of the Regency period which live so bravely in the pages of "The Broad Highway" and "The Amateur Gentleman."

His host of readers will be delighted to know that in this latest novel "A Jade Of Destiny" he has turned to that Merrie England he has made indisputably his own, and has given us a glowing romance of the days of Queen Bess - a romance dealing to some extent with one of the many plots against the life of the great Queen. Two contrasting love stories are woven through this swift-moving, colorful narrative and, as may be expected in a Farnol novel, the drama rises chapter by chapter to the ultimate climax.

Mr. Farnol is of course at his best in a "costume" novel, and in this one are contained to a high degree all the elements of love, adventure and characterization that made him famous.

CHARMIAN, LADY VIBART, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1932, First American Edition

"Charmian, Lady Vibart" is a novel dealing with many of the characters made famous by Jeffery Farnol in "The Broad Highway," and the action takes place twenty years after the final episode of that book. Charmian, now in the early forties, is still a great beauty and not afraid to gamble love and honor in a game of sinister peril. Young Richard Vibart, son of Sir Peter and Lady Charmian, receives in Paris a challenge from a famous duelist whom Richard has slapped for speaking lightly of the boy's mother. When Sir Peter hears of it he hurries to Paris, while Charmian, with a plan of her own, follows secretly.

Mr. Farnol's latest novel, describing the joys and tribulations which parenthood has brought to the well-loved Charmian and Peter Vibart, recaptures the atmosphere of "The Broad Highway" in a fast-moving narrative which is replete with action and suspense. The scene of this absorbing Farnol romance is London, Paris, Kent and Sussex.

A PAGEANT OF VICTORY. Published by Sampson Low, Marston & Co Ltd. 1936

Jeffery Farnol's exceptional gifts as a storyteller have long had worldwide recognition,and as a writer of tales of healthy sentimental adventure he has few peers.

The story opens in Virginia in 1774, at the moment when resentment at King George's treatment of the Amencan Colonies and anger at Gaye's misguided highhandedness in Massachusetts, and particularly Boston, is blazing up to rebellion. George Charteris, Lord Wraybourne(sic), a perfervidly loyal Tory peer settled in Virginia, vehemently denounces the agitation as treason, and is infuriated when his nephew, Anthony Falconbridge, expresses sympathy with it and declares his belief in the future of America as an independent sovereign power.

Thus,a family feud is originated which provides the main thread upon which all the subsequent episodes constituting the novel are strung.

The story is first rate. Large in conception, well constructed, dramatic, emotional, and relieved by a fair amount of humour, it has all the attributes that should give it great and deserved popularity.

THE CROOKED FURROW, Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., 1938, First American Edition

In "The Crooked Furrow" Jeffery Farnol returns to the vigour and broad sweep of his famous "The Broad Highway," but here the material is handled with a new sureness and with an even deeper understanding of life. As in his other books, Mr. Farnol exhibits his lively art, his graceful talent for cloaking his characters in Romance without divesting them of sturdy Reality. The period and place - early nineteenth-century England - which the author has made his particular province, form a lusty, colourful background for the stirring action of his story. It is the story of two cousins, Roland Verinder and Oliver Dale. Roland was an aristocrat, "sired by an aristocrat of proud and ancient lineage," and to him Oliver was a "damned, dunghilly, yokelly yeoman." Oliver was a farmer, descended on his father's side "through a sturdy yeoman ancestry," and to him Roland was a "young, blind cur." We read what happened to them when their rich uncle, cold, aloof Sir Everard Matravers, gave them fifty-two guineas apiece and commanded them "to essay fortune and dare circumstance for one year and a day." How they fight and frolic, laugh and love, with the enchanting characters they meet along the way, makes this a delightfully original tale. Here is a meaty and full-blooded story, in the great tradition of Sterne and Smollett and Fielding, exciting, witty and gay.

THE HAPPY HARVEST, The Book League of America, 1940, American Reprint

Jeffery Farnol has made early nineteenth-century England his particular province. Beginning with the famous "The Broad Highway," he has demonstrated his genius for recreating freshly and vigorously the lusty, brawling, stand-and-deliver days of the past. In "The Happy Harvest" we meet some old friends, including the loquacious Jasper Shrig, and make some new ones; and find the romance of Oliver Dale and the lovely Clia spiced with humor, and given tension by a mysterious murder which is solved by the astute Jasper, who also, on occasion, plays the role of Cupid.

"The Happy Harvest" is fine Farnol fare, a tale of a courageous hero, of a mettlesome heroine, of forest duels and moonlight escapes. Few writers in any field have so consistently maintained such a high standard of performance.

A MATTER OF BUSINESS AND OTHER STORIES. Published by Ryerson Press, Toronto, 1940

Here is a genemodern human dramas as he can of the earlier periods. Ranging in scene from Bombay to London's Strand, and in subject matter from the French Rrous collection of thirty short stories from the pen of Jeffery Farnol, undisputed master of the field of historical romance. Since the publication years ago of The Broad Highway, which was an immediate and outstanding success, Farnol has made the early swashbuckling, eighteenth-century English romance peculiarly and brilliantly his own. In this new book he shows that he can write as tellingly of evolution to the World War, these stories will provide a rich fare for any lover of a tale well told or a drama stirringly enacted. It is a well-balanced selection. Readers will meet familiar Farnol characters like the cockney detective, Jasper Shrig, highway robbers, good-hearted rogues, swaggering heroes, and wily villains - all bearing the unmistakable Farnol stamp - and will find many more who are new to Farnol's writing and who are superbly drawn. The stories are written in the graceful, fluent manner for which the author is famous, and exhibit that quality in his writing which, as a London reviewer has said, "in a musician is called touch." 

VALLEY OF NIGHT, [ North American title for "Murder by Nail" ]
Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., New York, 1942, First American Edition

This is another triumphant episode in the career of Jasper Shrig, that shrewd, dour limb of the law whose amazing career has provided so much enjoyment for Jeffery Farnol's readers. Valley of Night is an enthralling tale of mystery and intrigue which is set in eighteenth-century England and ranges from London to that wild Cornish coast where the shipwreckers plied their nefarious trade. Although Jeffery Farnol has created a host of memorable characters, Edward Brandonleigh and Virginia Wrybrook will live among his best creations, and their individual love stories, beset as they were by murder, intrigue, and greed, will not soon be forgotten. Mr. Farnol has outdone himself in his exciting and eerie descriptions of the shipwreckers of the Cornish coast and in his depiction of the aged, scheming Lady Polgarth, whose desperate attempt on the life of Edward Brandonleigh, in her efforts to conceal the secret of the disinterred skull, forms one of the high lights of a book which contains the last full measure of sustained and thrilling romance. Jasper Shrig, that magnificent Cockney, who is brought into the case by Brandonleigh and whose thick accent and homely philosophy have been such a high light in other Farnol books, is once again in the center of the gripping events with which "Valley of Night" is replete. This is magnificent entertainment in the well-known Farnol manner.

THE KING LIVETH. Published by Sampson Low, Marston & Co Ltd 1942(?)

Readers of Jeffery Farnol's most recent novel will not fail to detect innumerable resemblances between the England of the Ninth Century, the period of this romance, and that part of the Twentieth Century which opened in the Autumn of 1939. Thus, notwithstanding the very long interval between the Ninth Century and the Twentieth Century there are times when this story seems to be almost topical.

During the dark years of the Ninth Century, when all seemed lost, and when so many English people were sunk in dejection and grief, we see King Alfred, known to-day, and properly so, as Alfred the Great, trying to inspire his people with hope and courage, rallying his forces, and stimulating them into activity, and himself working hard in many ways to rescue his country from the plight into which it had been allowed to blunder.

King Alfred, the Great Deliverer, who achieved the apparently impossible feat of freeing Wessex from the powerful and in other ways very capable Danes, lives in these pages, in association with a large number of other characters; and the incidents, striking and interesting, lead at last to the crowning victory at Ethandune, the modern Edington, near Westbury, in Wiltshire

Although in these stirring chapters there is much fighting, we are not always in the thick of battle, because the love interest is strong also; and the moving scenes are varied by the pleasing coming and going of noble, amiable and beautiful women. with ardent and tender wooing, sometimes in the moonlit forest; for just as Scott, in Ivanhoe, has given us engaging scenes in Sherwood Forest, so has Jeffery Farnol brought romance into the Forest of Selwood. that, in the time of Alfred, curved along the frontier of Somerset. under the chalk upland of Wiltshire.

The many readers of Jeffery Farnol's books know how attached he is to rural scenes, and to a life in the woods and fields and villages and country lanes and this love is revealed once more in this his latest book, in which we may listen again to the singing of the birds. and to the music of the running streams as a welcome change from the clash of swords, and the hoarse shouts of warriors.

THE "PIPING TIMES," Ryerson Press, Toronto, 1946, First Canadian Edition

When Jeffery Farnol, from the neighbourhood of Horsham in Sussex, opens this romance of rural England, motor cars were unknown; so that the later, and very deplorable ravages of natural beauty had not then begun; and Kent, Surrey and Sussex were even more sequestered, and more attractive, than they have become in our own distracted times.

From Sussex, this latest of Jeffery Farnol's rustic journeys proceeds westwards, not without incidents, and not without calls at village inns, with references to meals, which, in the words of Blackmore's John Ridd, "make my lips smack, and my ribs come inwards."

The two good companions, who are faring together, trudge along the old Pilgrim's Way, through the desolate moorland parts of Devonshire; and so into Cornwall, where we have the most moving incidents of the story, though the author is not so entirely absorbed in his accounts of English country
life, that he fails to give us an insight into the exciting adventures presented by the life of far western America, amongst the bullock wallopers, for into this peaceful Cornish scene there bursts the heroine, a wild, untamed American woman, who rides high-spirited horses, who can throw deftly a lariat, or use any kind of dagger, or firearm that we may wish to mention.

It is in and around one of those impressive and dignified ancient Elizabeth or Stuart manor houses, built entirely of stone, with its mullions, dripstones and gables, that we become acquainted with some of the principal characters in the story, not forgetting the "Foxtotum," who provides the comic element, nor old Joel, a frequenter of Three Pilchards tavern, who reminds us of "The Ancient," in "The Broad Highway."

HERITAGE PERILOUS, Robert M. McBride and Company, New York, 1947, First American Edition (?)

Jeffery Farnol, that superb teller of lusty tales, returns with an exciting new novel, which is good news to his host of staunch admirers and to all readers who love swiftly-paced, soundly-written historical fiction.

The action of the story takes place two years after the death of Admiral Nelson and concerns a strapping young seaman, Sam Felton, who, returning from hard years at sea, unexpectedly finds himself succeeding to an important earldom with its great house, vast lands and immense wealth. But his succession is not easily accepted by unworthy relatives and conniving neighbors who resent an usurper of a legacy that was to be their own. This means that Sam must fight his way with brawn and brain to gain control of his rightful heritage. I means too that he must fight for the charming and inscrutable Andromeda, a raven-haired beauty whose life was tinged with the same measure of excitement as Sam's even after that doughty young mariner makes her welfare his personal concern.

"Heritage Perilous" is for that vast multitude of readers, the young in heart, who for a few hours are eager to get away from the world of today and back to the romantic days of an earlier century. It is also a novel that will enhance Jeffery Farnol's eminent position as one of the most famous modern figures in the great tradition of English story tellers.

MY LORD OF WRYBOURNE, Ryerson Press, Toronto, 1948, First Canadian Edition

The great house of Wrybourne Feveril, and all within it, were at peace. The Earl of Wrybourne had retired from his seafaring life, and was happy to have his charming wife and young heir about him, content to devote his time and energies to the upkeep and care of his lands and tenants. But dark days lay ahead for the earl.

Sir Robert Chalmers, having lost his right hand in a duel with the earl, was sworn to vengeance. He plotted to destroy the peace of Wrybourne, to sow jealousy between the earl and his wife, and to kidnap the boy heir. One by one, in this evil design, the earl loses his dearest friends: his cousin, Lord Scrope, believing Wrybourne to be in love with his wife, vows to kill him; twice his murder is attempted; in pride, the earl dismisses his closest companion, and finally his child is kidnapped, and his wife, though devoted, flies from him.

Many of the characters in this new novel will be happily remembered from previous Jeffery Farnol romances, others are new, drawn with all the skill that one expects from a master in the art of grand story-telling. In "My Lord of Wrybourne," Jeffery Farnol has once again captured the spirit of excitement of the days of the past, infusing them with a masterly sense of atmosphere and urgency that makes all his stories such firm favourites and so delightfully readable.

THE NINTH EARL, Ryerson Press, Toronto, 1950, First Canadian Edition

When a storm blew away part of the crumbling masonry of the old tower at Ravenhurst Castle it revealed a skeleton, hidden for many years, which was without doubt that of the seventh earl. Few people believed that the rightful heir whose existence until then had been unknown would be found so quickly - or that he would prove to be the person that he did. But they counted without the presence of the ubiquitous Jasper Shrig, the Bow Street runner, in their sleepy Sussex village of Ravenhurst.

One by one he unravelled the many mysteries which surrounded the castle and its curious inhabitants; the sullen eighth Earl, his frivolous son Viscount Hurst, the lovely Lady Clytie Moor and the dangerous Sir Humphrey Carr, his nephew. By listening to village gossip, by piecing together the few shreds of evidence which he possessed he was able to reach a solution, which events proved to be only too correct.

Here Jeffery Farnol in his most felicitous period - England just after the Napoleonic wars. At home among the people of Sussex he conjures up a fascinating and authentic picture of 19th century country life, weaving a story of mystery and intrigue among one of the noblest of English families. Against this background he tells of the love of humble George Bell for the noble Lady Clytie and of how despite many setbacks it triumphs in the end.

This latest Farnol romance maintains the highest standards of its predecessors, and will delight his many readers who eagerly await publication of "the next" Jeffery Farnol.

THE GLAD SUMMER, Sampson Low, Marston and Company, Ltd., London, 1951, First English Edition

When Nicholas Harbourne unexpectedly inherited the Harbourne baronetcy and fortune he decided to stay incognito among his tenants to learn to know them and to discover how they lived - and so met the lovely Joanne, who was valiantly running her farm under difficulties not of her own making.

As the story progresses we meet Aunt Jemima and little Priscilla, who take Nicholas to their hearts for the man he is; the dissolute Lord Wolverton, who hates him for the same reason and is trying to blackmail Joanne into marriage; Bill the carter; George the ploughman; Joe the cowman; and other characters who live in Sussex that Jeffery Farnol loves.

How Nicholas makes his friends' lives happier and fuller - and his own at the same time, how he works as a handyman on Joanne's farm, how he outwits and outfights the scheming Wolverton, how at the end of that "glad summer" he learns to say the words which are the key to his and Joanne's happiness, and how he says them - and where - is unfolded smoothly, and yet on occasion
unexpectedly, in the inimitable Farnol style which makes you feel you are living in the story and that the characters are people you know personally.

"The Glad Summer" is set in the early years of Queen Victoria' reign when life moved more slowly, but the main desire in people's hearts was the same as it is today - to live fully and in peace and happiness.

Justice By Midnight. Published by Sampson Low. 1955

This is the last book from the magic pen of that master of romantic fiction, Jeffery Farnol. It was finished in rough form before his death and has been edited for publication by his widow, Mrs. Phyllis Farnol. The story is set in the uneasy England of James II. Rejected love turns the exquisite, soulful Mr. Anthony Armadale into the grim, misogynistic outlaw 'Captain Midnight', the terror of those wealthy autocrats who considered themselves to be above the law. Encouraging him in his daring interventions between Tyranny and its victims, the little parson Aeneas Wade never guesses his identity. Not so the lovely Lady Clarissa Fane, who sees through the embittered mask to the true man beneath it, and the story ends, as all stories should, happily. This is a book that all Farnol fans will wish to have upon their bookshelves.
         Mark Blanchard



The 24 page introduction to this beautiful Art Deco guidebook to Brighton's sister seaside resort Hove in Sussex was written (with facsimile signature) by Jeffrey Farnol, a leading best-seller of the opulent pre-war era. With its silvered finish, redolent of 1930s luxury this 61-page book is in near fine condition apart from minor damage to spine. Reproduction water colours of windmills and yacht regattas, sepia-tinted photos (including 1930s civil airplanes at airport), rail fare tariff and indexed street plan complete this precious keepsake of the vanished world of Agatha Christie, P.G.Wodehouse, and the aristocratic house parties of England's Sussex Downs.
         Mike Smith


Many thanks to Gerry Christmas for the idea and to Gerry Christmas and Pat Bryan for the transcriptions
More contributions welcome.

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